In late 2018 Summer Walker gently made her way into the mainstream with the anthem “Girls Need Love”. Originally placed on her debut commercial mixtape Last Day of Summer, “Girls Need Love” went on to create a victory lap. Gaining much buzz and attention from the tune, Summer was able to snag a Drake feature for the remix. Of course this elevated the track and even introduced Summer to new audiences. In early October 2019, Summer released her debut studio album, Over It. The album debuted at No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and No. 2 on the all-genre Billboard 200. To fuel Summer’s blazing success, she mastered the largest streaming week ever for an R&B album by a woman in terms of on-demand U.S. audio streams.
On Nov. 12, 2019 Summer announced that she would be canceling several tour dates due to her Social Anxiety. Since the announcement, she has received an overwhelming flood of negative opinions regarding the news. With the negative feedback presumably masking the sea of support, Summer has been pushed to speak out about the issue multiple times. Before we form an opinion, let’s get technical for a second…
What is social Anxiety?
Taken directly from the ADAA’s (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) official website, Social Anxiety is defined as the following:
“The defining feature of social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation. People with social anxiety disorder may worry about acting or appearing visibly anxious (e.g., blushing, stumbling over words), or being viewed as stupid, awkward, or boring. As a result, they often avoid social or performance situations, and when a situation cannot be avoided, they experience significant anxiety and distress. Many people with social anxiety disorder also experience strong physical symptoms, such as a rapid heart rate, nausea, and sweating, and may experience full-blown attacks when confronting a feared situation. Although they recognize that their fear is excessive and unreasonable, people with social anxiety disorder often feel powerless against their anxiety.”
Being someone who was diagnosed with Anxiety over a decade ago, I would like to add a few points of my own.
- You can NOT control the moments that Anxiety appears. An aggravating comment that critics spewed countless times is “ bUt ShE uSeD tO bE a StRiPpEr”. Um OKAY?? Dude, I am Branding Specialist, Blogger, MUA, Private cook, and the list LITERALLY goes on. These are not things that I aspire to do, but are all careers that I am still actively working or once flourished in. Unavoidable attention is something that I’m required to deal with daily. I’m not shy at all. However, some days in the lowest key of settings, I’ll get what I like to call “NERVES”. I’m not shaky nor am I jittery when this occurs, but my insides feel like symbols clashing and often times I can damn near faint if I don’t grasp a hold of myself and breathing. Anxiety is not always something that you can see. A complete lifestyle shift is what helped me better control my Anxiety and honestly, that took YEARS. Even if she came out tomorrow and said that she fabricated the whole thing, I would still believe that Summer suffers from Anxiety. Her inwardness and empathy are way too familiar.
2. I’m almost certain that the majority of Summer’s critics haven’t spent a week, day or even a second with her. I know I haven’t. Have you? What qualifies us to speak on her Mental Health? This isn’t some messy romance or scandal that’s floating across the blogs, it’s literally her health. We should all be mindful that those that entertain are too, just mere mortals. Life happens to us all.
3. When unfamiliar conditions or situations are at a point of discussion, why is it Human Nature that we impose our sometimes ignorant and unsolicited opinions? We are all entitled to our own subjective perspectives. However, when things don’t affect us directly, what does it benefit one to be cruel and abrasive? We could easily use that energy to LEARN more about the issue.
In the midst of this conversation, I do feel that Summer’s camp should’ve been more hands on with translating the overall reason to her fans. I’m not confirming that the responses would’ve been any different, but if presented properly, the fans would’ve felt a little more valued. Hopefully this topic is a segue that leads to a serious discussion regarding Social Anxiety.
Do you think that fans and critics are being insensitive with Summer? I want to hear your thoughts below!
As always, Thanks for READING! -Ne